Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spaight's Battalion, Confederate Defenders of Texas and Louisiana

     One of the military units directly defending Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana in the War Between the States is highlighted in a new book, Swamp Angels: A History of the 11th Battalion (Spaight's) Texas Volunteers by Michael Dan Jones.
     The book covers the wide sweep the battalion's history, which spent all of its time in Southeast Texas and South Louisiana, guarding the coast and fighting in several battles, including both battles at Sabine Pass (Company B only) and the Battle of Calcasieu Pass.
     The volunteers were raised in both East Texas and Southwest Louisiana, including a number of prominent men from both regions.
     The commander was Colonel Ashley Wood Spaight of Liberty Texas and second in command was Major Josephus S. Irvine, who was a veteran of the Texas Revolution and the Battle of San Jacinto.
     Most of the enlisted men were farmers from throughout the region. Company E, commanded Captain George W. O'Bryan, was the specific unit that helped build the fortification at Niblett's Bluff, and lost a number of men there in a measles epidemic.
     Company B was stationed at Sabine Pass throughout the war, manning heavy artillery pieces. Also guarded by the battalion were Houston, Galveston, Beaumont, and Orange in Texas; and Burr's Ferry, Niblett's Bluff, Calcasieu Pass, and Lake Charles in Louisiana.
     The battalion was a mixed arms battalion, meaning it had three infantry companies, two cavalry companies and a heavy artillery company.
     Elements of the battalion took part in the First and Second battles of Sabine Pass, a sea battle off Sabine Pass in the Gulf of Mexico, the Battle of Fordoche Bayou, the Battle of Bayou Bourbeau, the Battle of Calcasieu Pass and a number of skirmishes with the federal blockade ships and landing parties along the coasts of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.
     The history was complied from letters and diaries of the soldiers, official records of the Union and Confederate armies and contemporary newspaper stories. There are also a number of photographs of soldiers who served in the unit. It also has an annotated roster of over 1,000 men who served in the battalion.
    The book is published by CreateSpace.com of Charleston, S.C. and has 352 pages, photographs, maps, bibliography, and index ($18.00, trade paperback). It is also available at Amazon.com, Books A Million, Boarders and other online booksellers.

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